How is this different from being in the NOW as Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie recommend? These philosophers advocate staying in your present without attaching to your stories of the pas t or your dreams or dreads of the future. Instant gratification is the seeking of things that make us feel good for right now. Eckhart and Byron emphasize that we learn to love the present, no matter whether it feels good or not. When in this state, we can love ourselves and our friends and family without requiring anything back.
Testing Proves that Instant Gratification Lowers Intelligence
In the 1960’s, Walter Mischel at Stanford University, gave a test to 4 year old children. He gave them each a marshmallow and promised another if they could hold on to the first for 20 minutes. Some waited and others didn’t. The researchers kept track of these children and found that those who were able to wait scored about 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence and his co-researchers found that the person with emotional maturity was well able to handle life’s situations and that the higher a person’s need for instant gratification, the lower was their emotional intelligence.
Learning to Think for the Long Term
Thinking for the short term has led to the current global recession. Can we turn this around so that our youth learn to honor and appreciate the effort that goes into learning a complicated field or occupation?
This mastery of their craft was what allowed the successful people of the 1950’s and 1960’s and ’70’s their abundance. Native Americans made decisions that would benefit the 7th generation to follow. This kind of long term thinking produced one of the most abundant continents in the world — North America. These indigenous people learned over thousands of years to live harmoniously with Mother Earth. The Mid-West was built on plains that had fertile top soil over 40 inches deep. The diaries of early visitors describes a paradise in the area that is now New England. They saw deer walking through manicured woodland interspersed with fertile and abundant farms.
Native Americans developed agriculture even while Europe and Great Britain were developing weapons and war ships.
I was speaking with a young man today who scoffed at the idea of planning or preparing for a future. He explained that he was interested in instant gratification and he was proud of this.
Without TV and Advertising to Tell Us What to Buy
Sao Paulo, Brazil banned all outdoor advertising in 2007. Since then, there has been some complaining that it then became a concrete jungle devoid of color or style. But, a vacuum will be filled. The city has begun to legalize the work of graffiti artists and RojoOut is a permanent outdoor art exhibition in 11 locations.
Rather than perpetrating consumerism, Sao Paulo is celebrating their creative artists. This is better. But, I believe that Sao Paulo didn’t go far enough. It didn’t take on TV advertising. The airwaves are owned by the community, yet, corporations have the freedom to use them to make a profit in any way they choose. It is time to take back control of our airwaves that are having such a strong effect on our children.
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